Stoopid is as stoopid does... I still need help

OK youse guys/gals/undecideds, here’s the straight skinny.
I’ve got an awkward LVW 5027HC+ which either has a filthy optical drive “eye” OR a second rate disposable drive. It has the standard "suddenly not seeing dvd’s " problem. After much digging around and long distance calls to Belgium I discovered that my ebay item had been “re-furbished” and sold to the seller without warrantee… who then sold it to me with the warrantee data in tiny print.
HOWEVER, the actual refurbisher has told me that they will KINDLY send me a replacement drive for just a coupla quid and some postage.
Fair enuff, right?
so-my questions are as follows…

  1. how will I determine the manufacturer and model of the defective drive currently in the machine?
  2. How will I determine whether the drive that they’re sending me is any better, or should I look forward to doing this all over again in another coupla months when the new drive dies?
  3. On my machine, after I got it, I did the region hack. Could that have made the machine gradually give up the ghost, opticaldrive-wise?
  4. Do I NEED to upgrade the firmware on either drive or, if it does all the stuff that I want it to do, can I just leave well enough alone?
  5. The machine sits at the bottom of a stack of cable boxes, vcrs, dvd player and audio gear… could this weight/insulation have caused the problems and should I maybe consider moving it to the top of the pile - It’ll look weird and drive me crazy so I’d rather not, but if it’s help the little devil to work right, I’ll go for it and suck up the FengShui kharma.
  6. Are there, anywhere on this forum, detailed instructions for removing the drive in this baby (pics would help also)?
  7. In the event that the “new” drive is the same as the dead one, should I bother with the replacement or just get a better drive, and if so, which one can anyone recommend… I’ve tried (honest) to decipher the jargon on this site but sometimes it gets a tad tech for an old guy with glasses and no knowledge of Flashing, hacking, firmware etc…
    thanks an elephantful to everyone for the time and assistance…

After I dissasemble the machine to remove the drive - which I don’t wanna do 'til the new drive arrives, I shall do the thorough cleaning job, carefully described on thses pages. If that fixes the probs, I’ll post and let you know.

LiteOn 50xx models come with crappy DVD drives which is most likely the cause of such problems, and drive replacement is your best option. See for more on this subject. See for list of replacement drives, and see posts #93 and #95 for some tips to add functionality for some replacement drives. See for info on how to do replacement including very helpful photos.

thank you for your help… it answers almost all of my questions…
I have been able to find out how to put the new drive in, but not how to get the old drive out… any thoughts?
also I’m still in the dark about questions 1,3,4 and 5.
I HAVE tried reading all these forums… I truly have… but they do seem to assume a certain amount of knowledge/expertise and I can’t seem to apply their information to my own particular circumstances.

In the spirit of helping, to answer yourquestions;

1- Has to be a Liteon drive, no question, you’ll need to open the case to see the model, sticker on top of the drive.

3- Region hack or any other hack have nothing to do with the drive failure, Liteon have installed weak drives in their recorders and they burn out quickly, thankfully most burners in Liteon recorder models can be replaced.

4- If you are satisfied with the system firmware version of your model, then no need to update, most recent updates address media compatibility. If you are going to put a PC burner in the recorder it is suggested that you update the burner’s firmware first then stick it in the recorder.

5- Heat is the worst condition for a recorder, the worst offending gear is usually audio equipment, cable boxes, so even though it’s not a good idea to stack other components on it, at least your recorder at the bottom and the high heat components are on top, heat goes up, keep that in mind when stacking.

To get drive out:

  1. power on, open tray, unplug, this will keep the tray open while you remove the front bezel.
  2. remove the front tray assembly (about .5 cm) that holds the front bezel to the tray, pull the assembly from the bottom while pushing up.
  3. plug recorder, close the tray
  4. unplug the recorder and now look for screws holding the drive to the bottom of the case, should be four of them.

Now you’re ready to work on the recorder to fit your new drive, see stickies for drive compatibilty, older Liteon drives are fully functional, newer drives, on playback, will not fast-forward DVD±Rs or commercial dvds, they will record fine, just the playback issue. I’ve replaced drives in my Liteon clones recorder with nwere ones and I don’t mind it as I don’t use the recorders as players, so no issue, as long as I can record, I’m ok with that.

Thank you Canuck… that answered all my questions, but added a couple of new ones. When you say…
If you are going to put a PC burner in the recorder it is suggested that you update the burner’s firmware first then stick it in the recorder…
are you referring to a computer drive in general or a pc drive in particular… (I have a mac, you see).
What are “Stickies” and where do I see them "for drive compatibility"
and, hopefully finally, how does one know if the replacement drive is a “newer” or “older” one? Is there a manufacturing date on the top?
Once again, thanks for all the help… luckily I don’t have to do this sort of thing often.

also… while I’m at it… can you upgrade the hard drive on this thing… or piggyback an external drive.
Just askin’

Drive firmware should be updated in a computer before installing in the recorder because it can’t be updated once installed in the recorder, and it should work as well in a mac if tools for flashing are same for mac. LiteOn models 1693 and earlier are older models and are fully functional replacements while post 1693 models are newer models which lack VCD recording ability and freeze on fast forward but have all other DVD play and record ability. The Sony DRU-120A aka DW-G120A is 1 exception that has normal fast forward function, and LiteOn SHW-160P6S and SHM-165P6S can be cross flashed to Sony DW-G120A to gain normal fast forward funtion. You also need to set the region while connected to a computer.

Referring to computer drives in general, good thing to do before installing in the recorder, you’ll have the most recent updates (operational and media compatibility).

Stickies are the permanent subject threads that are always at the top of most discussion forums. The forum moderator(s) will set a thread as a sticky and it will always remain at the top of the forum as it contains relevant information for the forum users. The stickies that would be relevant to you at this moment are the ones on drive compatibility and drive replacement.

For Liteon recorders, any Liteon drive model under model 1693 (2005) are considered older ones that are fully functional. Newer ones start at 160P, 165 (2006) etc… and they work but no fast forward, a small inconvenience, I set chapters every 5 minutes and if I need to FF, I’ll chapter up and rewind back.
There’s other compatible drive brands, usually manufactured by Liteon for others (like Sony).

Some Liteon (and clones) hardrive recorders will allow you to put a larger HDD, you’ll need to format it and load system files via the computer first. Here’s how I did mine, posted this before for others but not sure if this works with the 5027, it might.

[I]"My experience is working with ILO HD04 (80GB), a cloned Liteon half the size of the 5045. I’ve supersized 4 of them (2 at 250, one at 200 and 1 at 160). Bare with me as I’m no techie but I manage to work with the tools and knowledge I’ve got.

  1. extract the system files off of the current HDD onto your computer.
  • Back-up all your recordings on disc or erase your recordings.
  • Do a full erase of your HDD while still in the recorder
  • Remove HDD and plug into your PC and copy the system folder most likely called LITEONFAT and it’s around 5 GB in size give or take.
  1. Format new HDD
  • Plug new HDD in PC and run FDISK to the largest size, set it “active” and unformated.
  • Download fat32format from
  • Unzip and save .exe file on your c drive.
  • Click Start->Run and enter cmd. CD to where you extracted the fat32format exe, e.g. by typing CD /D c:\
  • In DOS Prompt, type (respect the spaces) this for 64k cluster size, fat32format -c128 f: (replace f: with your appropriate drive letter) You’ll get a warning notice saying “Warning ALL data on drive ‘f’ will be lost irretrievably, are you sure (y/n)” answer yes (y) and in a flash you will see results similar to these;

“Size : 250GB 488392002 sectors
512 Bytes Per Sector, Cluster size bytes (65??? for 64k cluster)
Volume ID is 1bdb:2c1d
32 Reserved Sectors, 59604 Sectors per FAT, 2 fats
7629261 Total clusters
7629260 Free Clusters
Formatting drive f:…
Clearing out 119304 sectors for Reserved sectors, fats and root cluster…
Wrote 61083648 bytes in 0.988463 seconds, 61796609.106193 bytes/sec
Initialising reserved sectors and FATs…

3- Copy LITEONFAT file onto new drive and install in the recorder, you’re ready to go !!!

Now some more info, because your recorder is a 80GB (I think) if ever you ever do a full erase with a bigger HDD in it, it will only reformat 80GB of it, that means you would need to go over this process to get the full size. That means from now on, erase individual titles and not the whole HDD.

If ever in the future, by some sheer bad luck, your HDD completely fails and you have no back-up files, do steps 1 and 2 and install in your recorder, do a full erase, this will write the files on the HDD (but only to 80GB) but at least you can backup the system files and then repeat all steps above for full size of your HDD." [/I]

If your hardrive ever fails and just want to replace it with one of the same size, all you need to do is install it and do a full erase of the HDD and that process will reformat and install the system files on the HDD.

Thanks again Crazy. I’ll have to do a little digging to find out how to do all this on a mac… exe files are PC files. I guess I have to find out how to “flash” (that should please the missus…) It’ll probably all make more sense to me after I actually SEE the darn thing after opening it up… haven’t done that part yet.
I ASSUME that I can just put the hard drive into an exterior drive case and firewire it to the mac, yes?
I guess the bottom line would be to get the system files onto the new drive. Can I just drag 'em onto the mac hard drive, swap the two external drives in the outside case and then drag the data back onto the new drive?

I use a PC based computer and the last one I’ve done (formating and transfer of files) was via USB and power adapter, didn’t use an external case, just the right cables and just left the HDD upside down on my tower until I was done.

Firewire, I personally don’t use it but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

If you do take the plunge, just make sure to format the new HDD using the fat32format tool to format at full fat32 and clusters at 64k size, just follow the directions on my previous post. Once formatted, it’s as you’ve figured out, just drag the whole folder (LITEONFAT) and copy it onto your computer HDD, and copy back on the newly formatted HDD. If you have the space I would suggest to keep the LITEONFAT folder on your computer, about 5 GB in size for possible future use.

The issue here is that most fat32 formaters will format at 32k sized clusters. When this is used for the purpose of upgrading the HDD in a Liteon recorder at 32k clusters, the next time the recorder goes through an HDD scan (unplugged, power failure) all recordings will crap out at the 1GB mark (recordings at HQ will crap out at 15 minutes, SP at 30 minutes …) so that’s why you need to format at 64k, the appropriate syntax is in my post, make sure to respect the spacings in the syntax (fat32format -c128 f:) replace f: with your appropriate drive letter.

If you use a brand new HDD, I would forgoe the FDISK and try going right to the formating, that should work, if not then FDISK the HDD and format. The formating tool takes only a few seconds to do its job, more like a flash, very quick. In the result screen of the formatter, look at the first 2 lines for 2 things, line 1 - full capacity GB size of HDD and line 2- cluster size at 64k.

Again remember that if you do put a larger HDD, only erase titles and not the whole HDD as the recorder will reformat at it’s original setting (80GB I think for the 5027). If it happens you’ll need to reformat and reload system on HDD

If you want to calculate how many hours you can get on a HDD, 8 hours of HQ per 40GB.

So to recap, three steps need to be accomplished;

  1. extraction of the Liteonfat folder
  2. formating at fat32 and at 64k clusters
  3. copy Liteonfat folder on new HDD and install.

Replacing the HDD or a drive does not affect the system firmware, no adjustments to be made to the system. The drive would need to be brought to the computer to set a region or region free and play a commercial disc first to see if it works then install in the recorder.

As soon as I posted I had more info, both jumpers for the drive and HDD in a HDD recorder must be set at CS (cable select) for proper boot-up, in a single drive recorder, jumper set at Master. I once had my replacement drive set at master and the HDD at CS and it took forever to power on, full 2 minutes compared to the normal 15 seconds. Just had to reset my jumper.

[QUOTE=CrazyCanuck;2017372]1- Has to be a Liteon drive, no question, you’ll need to open the case to see the model, sticker on top of the drive.[/QUOTE]
It can also be a Sony, like mine.

Very true, it can be a Sony, Liteon supplied drives to Sony to be labelled and sold under the Sony name.

OK, Well the new/replacement drive arrived today and it’s a model number DDW 8135.
Since I can’t find that on the lists can you tell me if it’s any good… I REALLY don’t want to have to go through this all over again in a couple of months.
If it’s not any better than the original… can you PLEASE advise me on a good, reliable optical drive for this 5027HC+? I’ve tried to read through the stacks of info o this forum site and I just get more confused with each posting.

apparently, on re-reading some of these threads, I find that the serial number of the drive MAY have some bearing so here 'tis.
s/n 4315 0400 7949
manufactured Jan 2005
and the model number is DDW 813501C
any ideas?
thanks as always

The DDW 8135 appears to be 1 of the original drives used by LiteOn in their recorders according to post #61 at, and it may be no better than drive being replaced. I recommend sticking with drives in the recommended list from link in my post #2 here or a Benq 1620 if 1 can be found.

The DDW 8135 is an older model, it will work, is it any better, don’t know, only users that have actually swap drives in a 5027 will be able to assist to identify compatible drives. Other than that only way is to test drives.

As on previous posts, the experience is that Liteon PC drives 1693 and lower were found to be fully compatible in a lot of Liteon older models and clones, I can confirm that they work in 5005, 5006, 5007, 5045, ILO R04, ILO HD04, the ILOs are Liteon clones, and the 1693 does work in my GOVIDEO 6530.

Liteon put their drives in a plastic case with no bottom to fit in recorders and they seem to fail quickly compared recorders fitted with off-the-shelf PC cased drives.

All burners eventually will fail, some sooner than others dependant on usage. My personal experience with 2 of my HD04s (bought 2005) is that within a year I had to replace both drives with PC based ones (160P in 2006), one of them does go through a lot of usage and the burner also failed within the year (165P in 2007) and it’s now starting to show signs of failure again, my second HD04 with less usage is still running very strong 2 years after replacement.

I have a 3rd ILOHD04 upstairs and I put a Liteon 20A1P in it, no problem other than can’t FF DVD+Rs and commercials discs, I think that any of the current 20x Liteon drives would work in the same way.

HDD recorders were conceive to work more as PVRs with the ability to archive the occasional recording, but with hacked firmwares and other tools, users are using the HDD recorders more as archivers and backing up their VHS and DVD collections rather than PVRs so drives just burn out.

These are the drives I use, the fully compatible ones are the Liteon 1693, Sony 120 and Sony 820, the drives with no FF are the Liteons 160P, 165P, 20A1P. I’m good for a number of years, most likely 'till the next generation of HDD recorders (bluray).

"Liteon put their drives in a plastic case with no bottom to fit in recorders and they seem to fail quickly compared recorders fitted with off-the-shelf PC cased drives."
Is it your suggestion, Canuckster, that I could buy a normal PC/Mac interior dvd writer and hook it up, either in place or outside the unit… and it would work???
I thought that this optical drive had to be some special type for the 5207 to recognise and interact with it. It SURE would be easier if that was the simple solution to all this madness… since i could care less about the cosmetics of the thing.

Exactly, just as bevills1 and I have been suggesting, that’s what I did to all of my ILO HDD recorders and even some of my single drive recorders (5007, ILO R04, Go Video 6530).

Not sure about the 5027, but most likely, it still needs to be tested or confirmed. If you have a store with a good return policy on PC drive, and you don’t mind the loss of the FF on DVD Rs and commercial discs I would try one of Liteon’s 20x writers. If it works and you’re happy with it, keep it and wait for the next sale and I would suggest to get even a spare one.

With some modding it can be fitted in the unit or just outside the case as many Liteon users do, you’ll need to cut some holes for the power and data cables. I installed them inside my recorders.

Seems that Liteon didn’t bother themselves too much with propriatery rights compared to other manufacturers. If you looked at the sticky list of compatible drives, those are all PC drives. All of our discussions here about the drive was about PC drives.

A normal PC/Mac interior dvd writer should work as CrazyCanuck states, but regardless of replacement choice it needs to be connected to PC/Mac and play a DVD in it in order to set region code. One small correction to next to last sentence in post #16 is that the Sony 120 is fully functional for DVDs but still lacks VCD record ability; the same is likely true for the Sony 820, but I don’t know for sure. This probably doesn’t matter to most since most don’t do VCD recording.